On this week’s Movies vs. Capitalism, hosts Rivka Rivera and Frank Cappello are joined by Matthew Donovan — founder of The Future Left, an activist collective, and co-host of the Neoliberal Hell podcast — to discuss Michael Cimino’s epic and controversial 1980 Western Heaven’s Gate.
A rough transcript of the episode is available here.
Over the last several years, millions of migrants from Latin America have made the perilous journey north to seek refuge in the United States, only to be met with contempt and at times, violent repression. Republicans continue to use this global humanitarian crisis as another cudgel in their sprawling culture war, while some Democratic politicians have done little more than decry the situation without offering substantive solutions. While such reactions to the crisis can seem unconscionable, they’re part of America's long historic tradition of scapegoating and political violence.
This history is on full display in the film Heaven’s Gate, the story of the Johnson County War in 1890s Wyoming, which saw poor European migrants pitted against wealthy cattle ranchers, leading to several deadly confrontations. During the discussion, the MVC team unpacks the film’s depiction of law enforcement aligning itself with property owners in order to violently eradicate the immigrant underclass. They also discuss the film’s infamous and problematic production.
For next week’s movie, MVC will be watching the 1980 comedy classic 9 to 5 with special guest Patricia Resnick, screenwriter of the film.
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